Last week we dropped our youngest off at college. Between moving him into the dorm, attending a parents’ orientation and other activities, the last few hours we spent with him were interrupted a couple times. I expected the day to be emotionally difficult, but watching him walk away with a sort of lost look about him tugged at my heart. He was a thousand miles from home and didn’t know anyone on campus.
One of the students who spoke during the parent orientation said it well. “When you start college, you lose your identity. No one knows who you are, where you came from, what you’ve done.”
That comment has stuck with me, not only because it expressed perfectly what my son was experiencing but because it’s true of more than just starting college. Many life events rob us of our identity–starting a new job, retirement, moving to a new community, death of a spouse, divorce.
An empty nest has forced me to re-examine my own identity. I’m no longer known as Matt’s mom, Beki’s mom, or Dan’s mom. Who am I?
In a different context, Moses, David and Solomon asked the same question.
“Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” Ex. 3:11
“Who am I. . . that I should become the king’s son-in-law?” 1 Samuel 18:18
“Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my family that you have brought me this far?” 1 Chronicles 17:16
“Who am I, and who are my people that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from You and we have given only what comes from Your hand.” 2 Chronicles 29:14
The answer can be found in Isaiah 43:1 where God says to his people, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name. You are mine.”
Identifying myself with the living God insures that my identity will never be lost. It is eternal, not based on what I’ve done or where I’ve been. It is based solely on His grace.
How reassuring to know that no matter where I go, no matter the circumstance, I know exactly who I am. I am His.